Entertainer: Episode 7
It’s debut time for Ddanddara Band, and, well, let’s just say reality doesn’t always match up with our dreams. It’s going to be a little harder for them to make themselves known, and it’s going to take some creative thinking and willingness to trust each other. Success is reached by many different roads, and the Ddanddara family may just have to pave their own.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Though Seok-ho had successfully convinced PD Park to give Ddanddara Band a spot on a live broadcast, he’s told that they can’t make it happen after all — CEO Lee has blackballed him. He asks to be allowed to speak with the station’s new executive director, but PD Park says it won’t do any good.
The executive director isn’t just letting CEO Lee roll over him though, and asks for a meeting. He’s newly in Korea, and Joo-han laughs that he just doesn’t understand how this stuff works or how powerful KTOP is. He accompanies CEO Lee to see SBC’s new executive director — it’s a slap in the face to be summoned, but CEO Lee is just curious enough to go anyway.
Seok-ho is already lurking around the executive director’s office trying to get in to see him, and security is called to escort him out. So when he sees CEO Lee and Joo-han as he’s being manhandled by the guards, it’s just that much more humiliating.
CEO Lee sits down with the new executive director, who turns out to be the nice man who encouraged Seok-ho in the restroom earlier (I knew it!). He repeats KTOP’s threat — if they put Ddanddara Band on television, KTOP will never allow their idols on that network again.
He says that this has caused him to get in trouble with his bosses and insulted by his subordinates, and while he’s smiling, it’s obvious that he’s very much more happy about this. He apologizes for calling CEO Lee to him, but it’s just that he’s so very busy finding replacements for all the KTOP singers that won’t be on their music shows any longer. Oooo burn.
He makes it clear… CEO Lee can go ahead with his threat, and the network will go ahead with allowing Ddanddara Band on their show. The executive director clarifies that he’s not affiliated with Ddanddara or Mango, he just likes their music. This guy is awesome.
CEO Lee looks like he just sucked a lemon, but before he can take his ball and go home, the new executive director reminds him that his threat doesn’t only include barring KTOP singers from their music shows. It also includes banning them from appearing on variety shows, and he’ll make sure that all KTOP idol actors currently acting in dramas are replaced immediately.
It’s obvious that CEO Lee didn’t think he’d have to actually carry out his threat, and he says the executive director is going too far. The new director agrees, but says that KTOP is being unreasonable, so basically, he started it. HA.
Seok-ho is still in the lobby when CEO Lee and Joo-han leave, barely giving him a glance. But PD Park calls and gives him the good news — Ddanddara Band will be the opening act for next week’s live music stage. Seok-ho runs out of the building, whooping at the top of his lungs.
The boys mope in their studio, too disappointed to practice. Finally Jae-hoon gets up and starts playing his drums, and the rest of the guys can’t help but be lured over to play. They’re enjoying themselves so much that when Seok-ho arrives, he hides to just watch them, enjoying music for music’s sake.
He finally joins them with a strict expression, and tells them not to stop — it’s a live stage, so they need to practice as much as possible. It takes a second for it to sink it, but when the boys realize they’re going to be on television, they celebrate wildly.
CEO Lee refuses to take this lying down and tells Joo-han to make sure that Ddanddara Band is barred from any and all other performances. He also wants a meeting with his prosecutor friend — he intends to have Seok-ho investigated for manipulating Jackson’s album sales.
This could also implicate KTOP, but CEO Lee is willing to risk it just to ruin Seok-ho. He also invites Mr. Byun to come speak with him again, recalling how he accused him of killing Ha-neul’s brother Sung-hyun.
Mr. Byun is smart to be wary of why he’s been summoned here. CEO Lee offers him an envelope of cash never to mention Sung-hyun again, but Mr. Byun isn’t impressed… is this all Sung-hyun’s life is worth to him? He asks if CEO Lee is really afraid of Seok-ho, or if he’s actually scared of Ha-neul becoming famous and learning the truth of his brother’s death. He flings the money back at CEO Lee and walks away.
The next order of business for Ddanddara Band is to come up with a concept, and of course the boys don’t agree. Jae-hoon and Yeon-soo like the idea of tuxedos, but Kyle has something else up his sleeve.
Joo-han receives a USB file in the mail with no return address, and he’s shocked when he sees the pictures of a drunk Jinu being led into a taxi by Ji-young, the same photos Seok-ho got from the fan club president. Sure enough, Seok-ho sent them, and he says to his own photo of Joo-han watching it all happen to prepare himself.
Kyle’s concept is bad, it’s so very bad. Cowboy boots, lycra pants… oh honey, just no. Seok-ho asks Geu-rin why she didn’t stop him, and she moans that they even had to ride the bus with him looking like this.
Seok-ho runs into the executive director in the SBC restroom again, though he has no idea who he really is. PD Park joins them and gapes at Seok-ho’s casual attitude with the new boss, and mouths to Seok-ho that that’s the new guy.
Horrified, Seok-ho runs over and introduces himself, but the new executive director is just all Yeah you said hello already. He tells Seok-ho to chill, that he doesn’t need his gifts — he’s allowing Ddanddara Band to perform because he likes the music, not because he’s interested in Mango or the band in particular. Further, he did it to put KTOP in their place.
He does tell Seok-ho that he was impressed when he saw him on his knees apologizing to PD Park, but it was nothing more than that. This is business, not personal.
So the band goes with the tuxedo concept, and they all plan to meet at the salon for haircuts. Yeon-soo leaves Chan-hee with Seok-ho’s mom, looking nervous and scared, but little Chan-hee adorably cheers his daddy on.
Looking sharp, the band show up at SBC and brace themselves for their debut. Seok-ho gives them a little pep talk in the dressing room, and then it’s time for them to go onstage.
They look amazing, and sound even better. In the back of the audience we see that Joo-han is there, while CEO Lee watches on live television, looking furious. Even Jinu and Ji-young are watching the show, both alone and unhappy for their own reasons. And hee, I just realized that Jae-hoon’s gigantic sunglasses are to hide his face in case his mother is watching.
The band celebrate their successful debut, but they all frown when Seok-ho goes into teacher-mode and starts correcting their tiny errors. Man-shik finally pulls him up and tells him to compliment them. Jae-hoon has to go before his mother notices he’s missing, and everyone realizes that Yeon-soo isn’t there at all.
Awww, he’s running to get his son, the one person he really wants to celebrate with. Both of their faces light up when they see each other through the restaurant window, and I’m not crying, it’s just raining in here. ~sniffle~
Everyone is disappointed when there’s not one single mention of their performance online the next day, but they perk up when they hear that they’ve been invited to be the guests on a radio show.
CEO Lee has dinner with his prosecutor friend (Eeee, it’s Oh Jung-se!), and suggests that he do an investigation into ratings-boosting of songs. The prosecutor sighs that it’s hard to get evidence, so CEO Lee hands over a stack full of evidence proving that Seok-ho manufactured Jackson’s ratings.
He claims to be ashamed that his company would do such a thing, and is willing to accept the consequences of turning in his own employees. After all, he didn’t do anything wrong — he points the finger squarely at Seok-ho.
Seok-ho gives Geu-rin a company credit card for expenses, and when she sticks it in her pocket and says she doesn’t own a purse, he grabs her and takes her shopping. She gasps at the price tags but Seok-ho mumbles for her to be elegant for pete’s sake, they’re mostly here to look.
He does buy her one outfit, saying she can’t just wear jeans all the time if she’s going to be the band’s manager, and also gives her a cute little wallet for the credit card. She shamelessly asks if he’s going to put some money in it, and he snarkily puts in one coin. Ha.
Geu-rin shows up at Mango in her new duds, and five male jaws drop at how pretty she looks. Ha-neul looks a little jealous when she says Seok-ho bought the clothes for her. Seok-ho just goes back to his desk, though he does say to himself that she finally looks like a woman.
The problem is that Geu-rin only has that one outfit, so she wears it every day (she washes it at night, she swears!). Seok-ho asks if she’s protesting, hinting for more, but she says she isn’t. She asks if she doesn’t look prettier, and Seok-ho just says, “Don’t you have a mirror at home?” Ha.
Out of nowhere, Geu-rin says she has a confession to make: “I think I like you.” Well, that escalated quickly. Stunned, Seok-ho stammers through several false starts before he finally tells her that she confessed wrong. Really, that’s all you got?
He deflates when she says that he bought her clothes, is a true mentor, and that he totally rocks! Ha, he keeps thinking she’s confessing her feelings when really, she’s just so dim that she doesn’t realize how her words sound. She’s got him so twisted up, it’s cute.
When it’s time for the band’s radio appearance, Seok-ho is upset to learn that again, someone is trying to bar them from performing. What’s even worse, they’ve been replaced by another performer — Jinu.
Seok-ho almost seems to give up when he sees Jinu, but Ha-neul notices something that makes him sit up and take notice… a small tattoo on the back of Jinu’s neck. He saw that tattoo on the guy he pulled off Ji-young the night of the incident. Angry, he nearly goes after Jinu right there, but Geu-rin’s hand on his arm stops him.
In the car, Ha-neul listens to Jinu’s interview through his headphones, and he texts in a question to be asked on the air: “The tattoo on Jinu’s neck is impressive. Last autumn in Busan, I couldn’t see it well because it was dark in the house.” Jinu goes cold and starts to shake, and ends the interview without warning.
He goes straight to Joo-han, who yells at him for ruining the interview after they worked so hard to get him on instead of Ddanddara Band. Jinu just screams that Ha-neul saw his tattoo that night, and he knows it was him in that house.
Ha-neul comes to Seok-ho alone and tells him that he understands now, why he ran away and hid. He tells Seok-ho to cheer up, and Seok-ho grins that Ha-neul is already acting like a star.
Joo-han’s looking pretty worried these days, and his hands shake so badly he can barely insert the latest anonymous USB he receives into his computer. This one contains the photo Seok-ho’s been staring at, the one that shows Joo-han himself in the background while Ji-young puts an obviously incapacitated Jinu in a taxi. Joo-han is so scared he starts to hyperventilate.
Geu-rin visits the radio station to beg for another chance for Ddanddara Band, and the PD explains to her that it won’t happen — Seok-ho got on KTOP’s bad side, so KTOP is determined to keep Ddanddara Band off the radio. She tells Geu-rin that Seok-ho only got the TV gig because he knelt and apologized, which is news to Geu-rin.
She rushes back to Mango and tells Seok-ho that she heard what he did, and says that she wants to be a great manager like him. Seok-ho shyly grins that he is pretty awesome, but he tells her not to be the kind of manager who kneels.
Kyle frowns at some posters of LEE SANG-WON (cameo by Seo Kang-joon), the supposed “Genius of Juilliard,” who’s doing a concert in Korea soon. Yeon-soo and Chan-hee see him putting gum on his old classmate’s posters, and ha, Kyle just runs away embarrassed.
Sang-won is on TV later doing an interview, and Yeon-soo asks if Kyle knew him at Juilliard. Chan-hee tattles about the gum, but Yeon-soo is jealous Kyle is friends with someone that famous. Kyle corrects him — they are not friends.
But Geu-rin gets an idea and shows Seok-ho, Min-joo, and Man-shik the interview, and suggests they ask if Ddanddara can do a guest appearance at Sang-won’s concert as a way to promote the band. It’s Sang-son’s first Korean concert, so there should be lots of reporters. It’s actually a pretty great idea.
The problem is Kyle — he’s not interested. Seok-ho argues that it’s a good way to introduce Kyle in particular, and that he went to Juilliard (wow I had no idea… ), but Kyle says that Sang-won made his time at school miserable. They were the only Koreans studying classical guitar, which automatically made them rivals. What’s worse, Kyle always came in second to Sang-won.
With tears in his eyes, Kyle begs Seok-ho not to make him ask Sang-won to be a hanger-on at his concert. Seok-ho agrees to drop this plan and think of something else, but Geu-rin wants to try talking to Kyle one more time. Ha-neul says no, that he’s never seen Kyle this upset, and besides it’s not worth hurting him worse when they may not even agree to let them in the concert.
Seok-ho follows Kyle outside to tell him they’re canceling this idea, apologizing for not asking him about this in private first. Kyle cheers up and they go back in, but later Geu-rin corners Kyle to talk about the concert idea anyway.
She thinks it’s a good idea because KTOP can’t stop the concert, and they can’t get an interview or performance anywhere else. But if they can gain fans, more places will request them despite KTOP’s efforts. Kyle says that he wants their band to succeed, but this is the one thing he can’t do.
Pushing the issue, Geu-rin asks him to do it for Ha-neul — he worries all the time that the band is suffering because of him. She offers to ask Lee Sang-won for the favor herself, but they’re interrupted when Seok-ho hears her and yells at her to get out. Geu-rin is fired.
He’s more furious than she’s ever seen him, as he spits that they don’t need a manager like her. He orders her again to leave, immediately.
While that seemed harsh at first, I actually understand why Seok-ho fired Geu-rin. Not only was she pressuring Kyle to do something he’d already made it clear he was uncomfortable with, she was deliberately undermining Seok-ho’s decision to drop the plan, and his promise to Kyle that he wouldn’t have to ask his rival for a handout. Seok-ho knows what it feels like to go to someone on your knees and beg, and I think he wants to spare Kyle that humiliation. So for Geu-rin to turn around and try to secretly push Kyle, she was crossing so many lines I can’t even count them. She completely deserved to be fired.
What I love most about Ddanddara is that, despite their rough beginnings, they all really seem to like and respect one another. I keep forgetting they’ve been together for a year now, half of that time while Seok-ho was gone and they were on their own, which of course would knit them together in a tight family unit. It’s heartwarming to see, for example, how quickly they’re willing to drop the concert idea if it makes Kyle unhappy. Even though it would be good for the band, it’s not worth it to them to sacrifice one of their members just for exposure. Though Geu-rin tries to push him into it, the rest of the band respects Kyle’s feelings, and I think that quality in them as a whole will serve them well when (if) they do finally break into the music industry.
I do understand Geu-rin’s desperation though — it’s kinda sad that after all that work to debut, nothing came of it for Ddanddara Band, though I imagine it happens that way for a lot of musical groups. It would be unrealistic to expect them to be an instant hit, and it forces them to get creative with their exposure in order to gain a following. I think that watching them fight to get on stages, bumping up against the might of KTOP at every turn, will be entertaining to watch. But they have to do it in a way that preserves the dignity and agency of all Ddanddara members, otherwise they’re no better than KTOP, forcing the talent to perform like trained monkeys, and do as they’re told without any input in how it happens.
I think a lot of my dissatisfaction regarding Entertainer in the first couple of weeks was because the show is so much different than what I expected. I was anticipating something much more like Dream High or Persevere, Gu Hae-ra — a lighthearted show with lots of music, centered around a group of plucky kids trying to make their big break. What we’ve been given is still good (and definitely improved in the third week, and seems to be maintaining a much smoother track now), but the gulf between what we expected and what we got was so wide, it created a dissonance that made it difficult to follow at first.
I actually like the story line of Jinu and Ha-neul being at odds with one another over one terrible incident that made victims of them both, and how the ripples from that night are still causing them problems a year later, affecting their personal and professional lives. It’s not a bad story, I just wish we’d been given some idea that this was not a light summer romp, but a more serious look into the dark underbelly of the music industry. But now that we’re firmly into the meat of the plot and understand where this story is taking us, I actually find it very enjoyable, if a bit whitewashed. It’s not a predictable plot line, and I have no idea where the show will take it, which keeps me watching and interested.
Also, now that I’ve seen them together one-on-one a few times, I actually don’t find the Seok-ho/Geu-rin pairing to be terribly problematic. Yes, he’s much older than her, but putting aside the social implications and power imbalance, their mutual attraction is kind of cute. I would like to see them have more actual chemistry (or I should say, more from Hyeri… Ji Sung is doing just fine on his end), but their bickering is adorable and they’re moving slowly enough that it’s believable. The hitch is that I like the idea of Geu-rin with Ha-neul better, and same goes for Seok-ho and Min-joo. In both cases the pairs have a history together, they’re more age-appropriate, and there are already feelings there. I wouldn’t be mad if the show let Geu-rin and Seok-ho explore a little attraction and flirtation, enjoy the excitement of something new, but in the end realized they really loved their old friends. Can we make that happen, Show?
- Entertainer: Episode 6
- Entertainer: Episode 5
- Entertainer: Episode 4
- Entertainer: Episode 3
- Entertainer: Episode 2
- Entertainer: Episode 1
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- Ji Sung and Hyeri shake it in Entertainer’s first teaser